There is a simple sort of liberty in being forced into a decision. With no choice comes a freedom from having to choose. There are some people for whom this kind of freedom can be very relaxing.
Poker players aren't those people. Poker players like choice. They like a big menu. They like finding value and exploiting it beyond any measurable amount. It's for these people that PokerStars today unveiled the Main Event Passport.
From a company that's provided entry satellites to all important poker events around the world comes the Main Event Passport, a ticket to any main event in any of the following series and stops:
You're reading it right. The Main Event Passport is worth a cool $13,000 entry to most big main events around the world. The Passport earns you a mian event buy-in, hotel accommodations, and traveling cash. Where you spend it is up to you. And get this: if you choose EPT London or the PCA, you'll get all of the above, no matter that those events are worth a good deal more than $13,000.
From now until July 3, PokerStars will offer the Main Event Passport in cash satellites, FPP satellites, and Steps tournaments for as little as $2 entry fees. You'll find them all in the the PokerStars lobby. Just click "Events" and "Passport."
For full details, terms and conditions, and frequently asked questions, visit the Main Event Passport page.
The penultimate event of the 2011 Spring Championship of Online Poker attracted a mass field as 17,876 players bought into the Low version of Event 37: No-Limit Hold'em 6-max, more than played in the first 35 years of the World Series of Poker main event--combined.
The resulting prize pool of $357,520 easily eclipsed the $200,000 PokerStars guarantee for the event. First would be worth nearly $45,000 and 3,000 participants got paid. Among that group were Team PokerStars pros Liv Boeree in 2,952nd ($28.60), Pierre "Zoutechamp" Neuville in 1,389th ($46.47), Lex Veldhuis in 1,196th ($53.62), Sigge "ClarkKent89" Reichard in 968th ($64.35) and Richard Toth in 579th ($89.38).
The field was whittled down to 13 players after 44 levels of play on Sunday, resulting in three short handed tables returning for Day 2 play Monday. Mendieta19 entered as the chipleader with a stack of nearly 25 million as blinds began at 150K/300K with a 37,500 ante.
Early play saw the shorts stack bust quickly. We were down to nine players after 20 minutes of play, and mendieta19 continually added to his stack as it grew to 36 million. At that point, each player had a stack of at least eight figures, giving each a minimum of 20 big blinds to play with--not extremely short stacked, but enough to keep things interesting.
We finally lost one of our final nine when Shauro 's stack shrunk to 6.7 million and the Russian pushed all in with [Kh] [Th] and was called by lehout with [Ac] [Jd]. A jack on the flop ended Shauro's day in ninth, which paid $2,860.16.
Dissent left in eighth after he shoved a flop of [Th] [2c] [2h] holding [Ac] [7s]. AAmA10 called with [Ah] [Jh]. The board finished up with [5s] [Qc] and ace-jack was good for the win. Dissent also earned $2,860.16. Meanwhile, lehout used agressive play against mendieta19 to wrest the chiplead away.
A big bluff caused mendietta19 to lose most of his stack. Fidget65 check called mendieta19 three times after raising preflop. On a board of [4d] [8c] [5s] [3h] [3c], Fidget65 faced a bet for the rest of the Russian's 14 million chips. After using much of his time bank, Fidget65 called with [Qd] [Qh] while mendieta19 showed [Qs] [Js] for the three-barrel bluff. This dropped mendieta19 to about 15 million chips.
A few hands later on the other table this bad beat set the final table:RSS readers click through to see replay
The final six:
Seat 1 -- MaxHam (14,510,944)
Seat 2 -- AAmA10 (52,380,397)
Seat 3 -- djdecide (12,157,539)
Seat 4 -- lehout (45,731,407)
Seat 5 -- Fidget65 (38,527,138)
Seat 6 -- mendieta19 (15,652,575)
The first departure from the final frame occurred when djdecide raised all in for 10 million under the gun and AAmA10 thought a while and called with [5c] [5s]. Djdecide showed [Kh] Th] and could not win the flip when the community cards read [9c] [3s] [2c] [Jh] [8c]. The sixth-place prize of $3,575.20 was added to the Hungarian's account. This hand gave AAmA10 a stack of nearly 77 million, or more than double that of any other player.
After we got down to five players the action slowed down tremendously. What one saw for the next hour were plenty of raises and re-raises, but almost no calls. The participants played quite cautiously and not many chips were moved during this period.
Finally, a cooler forced another elimination. AAmA10 raised to 2.8 million in the cutoff playing the 700K/1.4 million blind level and lehout called on the button. Fidget65 pushed for 18.3 million in the small blind and the action folded to lehout, who called and showed [Kc] [Kh]. Fidget65 held [Ah] [Ks] and missed the 2.5-to-1 shot when the board came [8d] [Jh] [2d] [Qs] [4c]. Fidget65 earned $7,150.40 for the fifth-place showing and lehout vaulted close to AAmA10 in chips, who claimed to have folded 9-10, which would have made the nut straight.
Lehout used those chips wisely, playing aggressive poker to win most pots preflop for the next several minutes, and before you knew it, the Dutchman held a 2-to-1 chip lead over the field.
After that, it was mendieta19's turn to get back in the match. First, AAmA10, perhaps still steaming after steadily going from the penthouse to the doghouse, called a big all in from mendieta19 with deuces only to find his opponent held aces. Then mendieta19 knocked out MaxHam in fourth after call an all-in reraise from the Swede.
mendieta19 [Ac] [Qs]
MaxHam [7s] [7d]
The board ran out cruelly for MaxHam in the form of [Kh] [2d] [4d] [9c] [Qd] to river mendieta19 the winning hand. MaxHam was paid $10,725.60 for fourth.
The crippled AAmA10 busted on the next hand after shoving for 11.3 million on the button. Lehout liked his hand better and pushed for 89.3 million in the small blind to get mendieta19 out of the way. The revealed cards were bad news for AAmA10 as his [Tc] [6s] was well behind the [Td] [Th] shown by his opponent. The flop of [3d] [2d] [4s] gave AAmA10 hope, but two nines fell next and AAmA10 was shown the door in third, which was worth $21,451.20.
The remaining two players asked for a deal breakdown, but mendieta19 would not agree to the proposed chop. Before play resumed, lehout tried to get action going quickly:
lehout: first hand blind allin?
mendieta19: might call u tho
Neither player followed through as mendieta19 raised it, lehout made a small re-raise and mendieta19 folded. The all-in action didn't take long to commence, however, even if it was done with eyes wide open. The final hand of this long event was a dandy:RSS readers click through to see replay
With that, mendieta19, who experienced a roller coaster ride throughout the day, finished in second and lehout was the champion of Event 37 Low.
Final table placements:
1st -- lehout ($43,487.20)
2nd -- mendieta19 ($32,176.80)
3rd -- AAmA10 ($21,451.20)
4th -- MaxHam ($10,725.60)
5th -- Fidget65 ($7,150.40)
6th -- djdecide ($3,575.20)
Who needs Big Ben, Old Faithful, or Donald Trump's self-promotion when you have ElkY?
If you need something by which you can set your watch, it's a Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier poker victory. You just had to know one was coming in this year's Spring Championship of Online Poker. Why wouldn't it be in the biggest of all buy-ins? As Kristin Bihr reported in ElkY reigns supreme in Event #35-H ($25,500 heads-up NLHE), ElkY picked up a SCOOP watch and more than $112,000 after beating Jonathan "Iftarii" Jaffe for the championship.
ElkY scoops another championship
Here are the Event #34 wraps.
Event #34: PLO 6-Max
With that event put to bed, now we only have to wait for the final two 2011 SCOOP events to finish up today. Event #37's Day 2 is already underway, and the main event's finals begin in just a couple of hours. The $109 low buy-in main event has 16 players remaining in the fight for the $181,000 first prize. Germany's vossiman leads the field. In the $1,050 contest, 16 players out of the original 2,505 remain with FiatEruditio on top of the hunt for the $400,000 first place purse.
The $10,300 high buy-in main event drew 380 players. Heading into Day 2, 22 remain looking to win the $735,000 first prize. The UK's 810ofclubs sits on top, and still in the hunt is Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem. The 2005 WSOP champ is currently in 14th place and sitting at the chip leader's table. Day 2 kick off at 2pm ET.
While we wait, we have just a couple of days eft to enjoy the vocal stylings of James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton on the Inside SCOOP Web Show. In the episode below you'll hear Team PokerStars Pros Jose Barbero and Tony Hachem. There is also a special appearance from the departed Nick Wealthall.
Good luck to all of those remaining alive in the 2011 Spring Championship of Online Poker. Stay tuned later today for wrap-ups from all the remaining action.
Season 4 of the PokerStars.net Latin America Poker Tour (LAPT) is already in full swing, with spectacular events this year already completed in Brazil, Chile and Peru. Players should take note that the fourth stop of the year has been shifted to Punta del Este in Uruguay from the previously announced location of Rosario, Argentina. Full details can be found at www.lapt.com/tournaments.
The LAPT Punta del Este Main Event will run from August 3rd to 7th in the luxurious Mantra Resort, Spa and Casino. This is the same popular location of the successful Uruguay events held during the first three seasons of the LAPT. The Americas Cup of Poker (ACP) will also be taking place in Uruguay on August 8th and 9th, immediately after the LAPT poker festivities end.
The tournament schedule will feature the $2,300+$200 Main Event, the traditional $1,100 NLHE two-day event and a $5,000 High Roller turbo freezeout on Sunday, among others. Cash games are also on offer at the Mantra Resort, offering a full week of poker for all players.
The popular welcome party will take place on Saturday night, shifting from the traditional day of the super satellites, to offer players a chance to enjoy some of the nightlife of Punta del Este. There will also be four themed activity nights at the Mantra Resort to offer players an even more entertainment-filled experience than before. Details will be announced shortly.
"We strive to provide the best poker experience to our players on the LAPT and Uruguay will be a much better destination than Rosario on all counts," said the LAPT President David Carrion.
Organisers are aware that some players may have already made travel arrangements for Rosario, and those players should contact LAPT support firstname.lastname@example.org for advice on how to alter bookings. "We will review each case individually," said Carrion. "Players' comfort is our priority and we will continue to offer first-class customer support."
"It is a great pleasure for Mantra Resort, Spa & Casino to host this important poker tournament once again. We hope that all participants and guests enjoy Punta del Este and the services of our resort and Casino" said Tony Lemom, Vice President of Mantra-Group.
The Mantra Resort is one of the most luxurious destinations in Latin America, boasting a sumptuous spa, gourmet restaurants and extensive casino, all a stone's throw from the sun-kissed beaches of the South Atlantic. Punta del Este is one of Uruguay's most popular holiday destinations and a short hop from the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires.
The LAPT is now in its fourth season, with player numbers and prize pools ever escalating. More than 500 players contested the season-opening event in Sao Paulo in February and prize pools have regularly topped $1m. All three winners on this record-breaking season have come from Latin America. Chile's Alex Manzano won in Brazil, before Brazil's Murilo Figueredo won in Chile. Then Kemal Ferri won on home turf in Peru.
The race for the inaugural LAPT Awards is also heating up. Manzano, Joao Neto and Marcelo Fonseca currently tie in first place for LAPT Player of the Year with 750 points each. For full details visit: http://www.lapt.com/awards/.
The Americas Cup of Poker is an international team event contested among countries from across the Americas. Last year, the Canadian team pipped the USA to the title, with Mexico third and Colombia fourth. It attracts numerous top stars, including several representatives from Team PokerStars Pro.
This seems to have been a weekend for poker-themed robberies, at least according to two local accounts. In Athens, GA, robbers burst into a home poker game just a short time after the winner had walked out on Saturday night. While there were no winnings to claim, the duo opted for an iPhone, wallet and [...]
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With Bodog's World Series of Poker* satellites, we're sending players from around the world to the big event in Las Vegas and we're going to help you get to know them a bit better. This time around, it's Bodog player Tim Hochkins, or united511 as Bodog's online poker player might know him.How often do [...]
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If ever there was someone destined to win a poker tournament, it was Sergey Ilyin. So dominant was he of this final table that some wag in the audience shouted to the other players: "It is better to give up!" Of course they didn't, but the result was same. Ilyin took the title at the Russian Poker Series Riga event, the second event of the season, and the ?65,324 that came with it.
He had taken a large chip lead in the middle of the third day, and carried it through to the final where he wasted little time in dispatching some of the shorter-stacked players. After just a couple of hours, the final table had been halved and the remainder seemingly settled for an Ilyin win and set about beating each other up to try and clinch second.
When they eventually got to the heads-up stage at the Royal Casino and Spa and Hotel Resort, with Ilyin playing Sergei Pilyugin, the winner had a huge chip lead of more than 3.5 million chips. The final hand saw Pilyugin hit top pair, top kicker with [ac][qd] on a [qc][js][6c][2c] board - but that man Ilyin had two pairs, holding [2s][6s]. Pilyugin got ?43,400 for his runner-up spot.
A note about Team PokerStars Pro Ivan Demidov, who finished fourth in Riga for ?17,400, a second consecutive RPS final table that likely puts him at the top of the Russian Poker Series Leader Board.
In all, 121 players forked out ?2,000 to play the Riga main event, a decent turnout considering it was slap bang in the middle of PokerStars SCOOP, and some players had already headed to Las Vegas for the early WSOP prelim events.
The next stop will be the Russian Poker Series will be in Odessa, with events running from August 14 through 21. Visit the Russian Poker Series website for more details about how you can take part.
The Arts Factory at Charleston & Main Street in the Downtown Arts District
Los Angeles, CA
Hat tip to Kevin Mathers for the info on the latest round of indictments from the DOJ. Here's the official press release.
The story is something out of The Wire or out of a Hollywood pitch meeting. The Feds (Homeland Security and Customs Agents) created a fake payment processor, Linwood, and the online casinos, online poker rooms, and sportsbooks approached them to do business. The Feds acquired a tons of inside info during their two-year sting, which they used to build a case and bring down a new batch of online gaming sites.
Shutdowns on Monday included DoylesRoom.com, BookMaker.com, BetEd.com, TruePoker.com, 2Betsdi.com, Funtimebingo.com, Goldenarchcasino.com, Betmaker.com, Betgrandesports.com, and Betehorse.com.
Doyle Brunson left Doyle's Room recently. Good timing for Dolly, eh? Or did he get tipped off ahead of time?
Will there be more indictments to come? Is this the end of everyone who ran over and migrated their online rolls to the Merge network?
* * *
I'm starting a running link dump as info comes forth....
First of all, CrazyMarco and gang at QuadJacks Radio are broadcasting live about the breaking news. Listen here.Thanks again to KevMath for his research assistance.
Gambling web sites, international bank accounts seized in federal sting. (The Republic)
Online poker "payment processor" admits U.S. charges. (Portfolio)
Baltimore feds target online gambling. (Baltimore Sun)
More Domains Seized. (Subject Poker)
Black Friday continues-True Poker and Bookmaker indictments 5/23/11. (2+2)
Feds Seize More Online Gambling Websites (G911)
The Ghost Hand: Maryland law enforcers aim to take the pot by secretly sitting at the online gambling table (Baltimore City Paper)